This post is sponsored by Sprint.
It's hard to give out a Game Ball Of The Week after a game like the one on Sunday. The crushing loss, the 1-4 season, and the bitter disappointment after such high offseason expectations makes thinking positive a tough journey.
But, there was some good play on Sunday. Roy Williams continues his season long resurgence, catching everything thrown his way including a tipped pass that he hauled in for a touchdown. On the day, Roy only caught three passes for 28 yards, but two of those catches were for touchdowns. Marion Barber also did well in a very limited role. When the Cowboys needed a yard on third or fourth down, Barber delivered; he converted five straight 3rd/4th and short plays to keep Cowboys drives alive. And our rookie Dez Bryant made a great catch on a tightly defended pass, scoring his first touchdown from the receiver position. Unfortunately, Dez let a crucial third down pass go right through his hands, taking the shine off his touchdown.
This week, I wanted to go with a not-so-obvious pick...
Adrian Peterson came into the game averaging a very healthy 5.5 yds per rush. He also was averaging 120 yds per game. The Cowboys rush defense was much more stingy than Peterson's previous opponents. He finished the day with 73 yards and only averaged 3 yds per rush. For most of the game, Peterson was essentially a non-factor - not that the Vikings needed him, Dallas was more than willing to give it up in other areas.
When a defense holds a star running back like Peterson to such paltry numbers, somebody must have been doing something right. And it's more than likely a linebacker. In this game, one linebacker stood out for his run defense. That guy was Bradie James. According to the official stats, James finished the game with team high 10 tackles, and 9 of those were solo tackles. He also clocked two tackles for loss, and was credited with a fumble recovery. Check out some of the game track involving Bradie:
1st and 10 at MIN 40: A.Peterson up the middle to MIN 38 for -2 yards (B.James).
3rd and 1 at MIN 49A.Peterson left guard to DAL 49 for 2 yards (S.Bowen; B.James).
1st and 10 at DAL 49B.Favre FUMBLES (Aborted) at MIN 48, RECOVERED by DAL-B.James at MIN 48. B.James to MIN 48 for no gain (A.Peterson).
1st and 10 at DAL 45A.Peterson left guard to DAL 45 for no gain (B.James).
1st and 15 at DAL 21A.Peterson up the middle to DAL 20 for 1 yard (B.James).
3rd and 33 at MIN 39(Shotgun) A.Peterson up the middle to MIN 43 for 4 yards (B.James).
2nd and 10 at DAL 49(Shotgun) P.Harvin right end to DAL 38 for 11 yards (B.James).
1st and 10 at DAL 38A.Peterson left tackle to DAL 36 for 2 yards (B.James, I.Olshansky).
2nd and 7 at DAL 27T.Gerhart left tackle to DAL 23 for 4 yards (B.James).
1st and 10 at MIN 40A.Peterson right tackle to MIN 39 for -1 yards (B.James).
That's pretty impressive stuff from Bradie on run defense, so for his efforts I'm giving him the Game Ball of the Week.